You have no idea how good it feels to type those words "race report". Long time coming. Short intro for the newbies to this blog and there are a couple.
Last year I trained for this race and was not able to run it due to an injury. I decided then that I was not going to let anything happen this year to keep me from crossing the finish line if it meant crawling across it! So here we are.....
Boy this has been a year. Lots of things personal and professional have happened. Some good, some very devastating and the devastation has happened recently so on Sunday when I sat out I ran this race for the loss in my life that I have and will feel for the rest of it. But a marathon is not planned or thought out quickly so this maybe the longest race report you have ever read...Just kidding. Training is training and those of you that run know the hours it takes. Those that don't run, your obviously my friends and you as well know what my family suffers through for me to train.
I am not sure how to write a race report that I feel good about. I am so use to complaining that now that I have something good to say I don't know where to start. So let me start with my about.com group. If I get this wrong they will correct me!
I joined a running forum last year when I started training to run this race. I got the best advice from several ladies on being a new runner. Wendy gave me wonderful advice along the way, then we found each other on facebook and we decided to run this race together. Wendy is my barefoot runner! Then the group grew. We kept a thread going for goodness I have no idea how long. A LONG TIME! We made our plans and those plans changed numerous times back and forth. The group has us all coming from NJ, VA, KY,TX,and PA. During the year we all had set backs of some kind and the RA girls setbacks are different than ones we as regular runners experience in my opinion. To days of not being able to run because your body just won't let you or just not having the energy because your body attacks itself, so I have such admiration at how they kept going. HATS OFF TO YOU GIRLS FOR YOUR DETERMINATION!
So our plan was to meet at the expo on Friday and we did. I got my number and my tech shirt. Yes I am tired of tech shirts, but I guess I won't be complaining when I don't have to buy any long sleeve ones anytime soon. So I just bought myself a regular t-shirt. We had a great dinner and went to our respective places to sleep. They camped and I had a hotel room because Jordan went with me.
Saturday morning was to be an early morning as Jeri was determined she was coming and running an event even with a bum leg. She did it, with those Viabrims for bare footers on I might add! I overslept and at least got to see her finish. Wendy's daughter ran the kids fun run barefooted as well. For a kid to run barefooted, I am so impressed. No one warned the poor thing about those crazy sand spurs. She looked miserable when we saw her but she got a big bright smile on her face and ran it in when she saw us and heard us cheering for her. We headed back to the Expo to enjoy some more OBX spirit. I got to see folks I know from home and that was exciting with all the people who would of thought. Then I went to rest the legs and nap. No nap was gotten due to the fact I had mental preparation to do.
I had been mentally preparing for a long time, with list and sayings of encouragement and just spending time in the moments of what it would be like to finish. But the list was taking over. I had to narrow down the outfits since I brought 5. Yes I brought 5 outfits to choose from. Clothes picked out and laid out, now rest. I tried. I never closed my eyes. Early dinner, the endless pasta bowl and perogies at The Flying Dutchman was the meal of choice. I have pictures but I am not posting all of those here. I will put them on Picasa and you can check them out later.
Early to bed, early to rise. I actually laid down at 7:45. Of course my blackberry was blowing up, so I finally turned it off and got to sleep and slept great. Got up at 5 a.m. had my planned out breakfast and coffee (of course). Got dressed, and was on my way to the start line. It wasn't that far from our hotel. Jordan dropped me off, Jill and Crystal picked me up and we there we were. At the start line to our first Marathon. At this point, the nerves took over and I felt like I was going to be ill. Time dwindled and it was it time to take our place. We found our pace group of 4:30. Yes I know, high ambition. But you can always drop back, hard to catch up. Our group I didn't think was paced well so a man I was beside, Steve Price and I ended up out front of them. We didn't look back. We were keeping a great pace and we felt good. You know I make a friend at every race I do. If I didn't, I wouldn't run. Steve and I talked and laughed for 24 miles. We loved hearing our names being cheered for, or for me, it was go Chatty Girl Go, since that is what my shirt said! Of course my feet hurt, but I knew that going in and I wasn't stopping. If I had to crawl across I would but I was finishing and that is what I told Steve. I would give you a mile by mile report but we would be here for days. This race is so well supported by the community and the going ons is just too much to write. Let's just say OBX knows how to turn it on when it comes to fun! Bloody Mary's, Tequila shots, beer, gummy bears and Reece's cups along the way. My kind of place! But at mile I think 5 or 6 I look to the right of me and it is Steve Mekita, a guy I trained with last year. So we caught up and ran together for a bit and then "my" Steve and I were off. Don't worry Steve M. caught us at mile 19. So from 19 on we would catch each other back and forth. It was fun and it was a goal. That went along with the 7 foot pirates who were run/walking and I was having a blast with them. So we cross a little bridge and we are like oh yeah that was nothing. Then we look up and seriously we both say "OH HELL" at the same time. Driving that bridge and running that bridge are night and day different. Well we decided to walk/run that bridge. My knee was killing me at that point so it was a walk/run from there on until Mile 24, when I knew I was almost there and it would be over and I thought I could come in under 5 hours. I wanted to finish in 4:45 but a potty break and the knee where not having that, so under 5 I would take. Hell I would be happy with a finish. So I kicked it in, left my two friends and I was on my way. I passed people and that felt good and I also got tired of hearing your almost there from the people in the cars eating McDonald's but that is to be expected. I promised I would never do that again at a race. Especially if I am watching a marathon. Because yes it may be all relative at that point that you only have 2.2 miles to go, but when it is you running those last few miles after running 24, yeah shut up folks. So I round the last half mile. I think that is when the smile hit. That is when I knew I had it and I knew I was finishing a goal that I made two years ago. I see the finish line, I make sure my number is turned around and then I hear "AMY BARNETT, JAMESTOWN, NORTH CAROLINA", ok I know it is me and I don't care that you just pronounced my name wrong. I have made it. I then hear yeah Amy, I knew my friends were there, but there were other people I knew. Lucy, Dawna and Elaine. Of course my daughter did not plan well so she couldn't get through the traffic to be at the finish line. Oh well no family at the finish line, but the best of friends where. First thing I did was text anyone who would care that I was done. When my husband called me, I think he was actually either crying or about to cry. How sweet! When he was probably thinking, thank God this is over. I had not been the nicest of wives toward the end just because of all that had been going on.
So to sum up my race report. I had a blast. Where I said I would not do it again, I lied. I would do it this weekend if I could. There is no feeling like it. I was trained very well (minus the training runs I missed do to whatever set back I had), I was fueled well, I was rested well, and I was mentally prepared. I had at no time any breakdown thinking I couldn't do it, I had no time where my body said you can't do it. Well my knee felt like it would blow out but nothing Dr. Jeremy Phillips can't put back together.
You know I am not sure what I would do different. This was such a great experience! I did what I set out to do and that was to finish and have fun. ACCOMPLISHED......Oh what will I do this coming year?